FANDOM


Exterminators is a 2017 short story written by Matt Forbeck, published by Titan Books as part of the anthology novel Aliens: Bug Hunt. In the story, Corporal Dietrich and Private Frost find themselves surrounded and cut off by voracious insectoid aliens while AWOL in an illegal bar on a backwater planet.

Plot

When their ship sets down on Sullivan 9 to refuel, Corporal Dietrich and Private Frost slip away from their unit to go drinking in the remote Last Chance bar, located several miles outside the refuelling station. The few locals inside greet them with threatening gruffness, but the bartender serves the pair without hostility. As the Marines drink, the other occupants begin talking cryptically about an unknown danger that faces them; when Dietrich and Frost question them on it, the locals show them their friend, whom the Marines had assumed was simply slumped unconscious in the corner, revealing some form of large alien insect clamped to the man's chest.

The locals — consisting of patrons Jesse, Tim and bartender Berto — explain that their friend, Park, was attacked by the creature outside. When they saw more of the insects, they brought him back inside rather than trying to carry him to the refuelling station. Tim's attempt to pry the insect off of Park's chest resulted in the creature badly burning his hand with some kind of corrosive substance, while more of the insects intercepted anyone attempting to return to the main complex for help. As the bar is illegal and has no comms link with the colony, they are now effectively cut off. Incredulous, Frost opens the door to check the surroundings, only to see a huge number of insects waiting in the treeline. He learns they are averse to light, but with only one small flashlight to hand, the information is of little practical use.

The group elects to wait the bugs out, but when Park begins coughing violently, Frost and Dietrich instead prepare to take their chances and run back to the colony to get him a doctor. They are about to leave, when Park starts to scream, screams that soon turn to violent convulsions, after which he begins explosively vomiting blood. The torrent soon reveals itself to be full of smaller insects, which quickly move to attack the bar's occupants. The group is saved when Berto turns the lighting up to full, driving the insects into the shadows. The larger insect clamped to the now deceased Park has since fallen away, also dead, revealing that Park's lower abdomen has been almost completely eaten from within by the offspring the creature had laid within him.

Again, the group plans to leave, but lacks any means to make enough light to protect themselves from the insects, many more of which now wait outside. To make matters worse, the bugs suddenly cut the power to the building, extinguishing the lights. As the insects begin to pour inside, Frost spreads a circle of tequila around the survivors and ignites it, holding the creatures at bay. However, Berto is attacked before he can get inside the safety of the flaming ring and falls into the fire, setting the bar alight. Realizing the inferno will soon detonate the building's gas supply, the four remaining survivors have no option but to try and run back to the refuelling station.

As they escape, Jesse punches Frost in the face, knocking him down and taking his flashlight, apologizing as he leaves him at the mercy of the insects. Dietrich stays by his side and they see that Tim and Jesse do not get far before they are overcome. With no alternative, Dietrich makes a makeshift Molotov cocktail out of the remaining tequila and hurls it at the bar's gas tank, causing a large explosion that knocks them both unconscious.

The two Marines wake up in hospital, where they are aggressively interrogated by both their Captain and representatives from Weyland-Yutani, who summarily dismiss their story as ridiculous. Once they are alone, Dietrich quips that next time she faces alien bugs, she'll make sure to remember to bring her flamethrower along.

Trivia

  • Exterminators is one of eight stories in Aliens: Bug Hunt that does not actually feature the Xenomorph, although it does feature several characters from Aliens.
  • Dietrich's final line — "Next time we run up against something like that, I'm bringing a fucking flamethrower." — is an obvious reference to Aliens, in which she does indeed arm herself with a flamethrower whilst infiltrating the Hive at Hadley's Hope.